When I put my four year old to bed every night we read a book and say our prayers and it is a time I truly cherish. I look forward to this time of day because it’s fascinating to relive the day through a little kid’s eyes and even on the most stressful days I find he always reiterates the good things that I’ve overlooked.
On a good night, we snuggle, talk about our day, read a book or two, and then say our prays before I tuck him in for the night. Lately, due to illness and activities, it’s been the shortest book in his room, a quick prayer, and a kiss before it’s lights out. Last night was one of those nights.
The book I picked was called The Bouncing King and I’ve read it dozens of times but never really paid attention to it. However, when I was reading I stopped in my tracks and found that this silly little story oddly, and profoundly, struck a cord with me.
The story is about a happy, jovial king who loved to bounce at the simplest things. Bees buzzing and lambs skipping, to be specific. The people loved him in the kingdom. There is also a prime minister who writes VERY IMPORTANT LAWS. (That part is capitalized in the book). For some reason, only gremlins could stop the king from bouncing and they live in the castle attic.
One day, the king bounces so high he goes through the ceiling and falls to the ground with a gremlin on his back, landing on the prime minister. The gremlin whispers in his ear that he is not a king because he is not sensible and wise because of his childish bouncing. The king is sad and wears heavy boots so he will no longer bounce so he could be a sensible king. He makes a law that no one in the kingdom is allowed to bounce and everyone is dark and gloomy.
The prime minister is puzzled because he cannot see or hear this gremlin but he reads about them and understands why the king made his new law. He takes matters into his hands and grabs the king and takes off his heavy boots. The prime minister takes the king on a walk and the king feels lighter without the weight of his heavy boots. The kingdom is happy to see him smiling again and the king sees the flowers growing, bees buzzing, and lambs skipping again. The king feels a “spring in his step” and bounces higher than he’s ever bounced before and the gremlin falls off of his shoulder and the lambs squash him flat.
The story ends with the king bouncing everywhere again and he changed his VERY IMPORTANT LAW and now, every week, the people must go and watch the lambs to remind them to keep bouncing and be happy.
I got to thinking about the gremlins in my life that seems to sit on my shoulder. You can read about some of them here, and while some of them have resolved, they have a tendency to pop up when I’m “bouncing”.
Lissencephaly has changed my perspective on a lot of things. On one hand, I have new eyes for the simple pleasures in life. I appreciate the good times a lot more than I used to and, as Andrew and I have said before, it’s brought our family a lot closer and we love a lot harder. On the other, it’s exposed me to what CAN happen. With the good, there’s always a look over the shoulder to see if the CAN happens WILL happen. Is the good that is around me going to come crashing down in devastation again? That, is my biggest gremlin. The cause for me to put on my heavy boots and see things that might be darker than they really are.
Thankfully, I have a lot of prime ministers in my life taking my boots off for me and lambs to remind me to be happy.
I have my Will during our time to unwind to remind me of all of the little-big things that passed me by. He helps me truly appreciate things from a child’s perspective. One that doesn’t know or fear what’s ahead. He lives in the moment and he reminds me every day to do the same.
I have my good husband, Andrew, who is so patient with me and is there to talk about the struggles of being a special needs parent. He is the only other person who knows exactly how it feels every day. While he may not understand everything I go through, he “reads about my gremlins” and is always a calming voice with nothing but love and support.
Paige shows me that we can overcome so much more than is expected of us and she is happy to just be herself. She makes everyone around her better simply because she’s Paige and that’s really beautiful.
Baby Jay shows me hope and healing every day. I watch him grow and I’m in awe of the simplest things he does. I take nothing for granted anymore and he reminds me to give thanks and love. Babies are good at that!
I’m learning that I don’t have to wear the weight of the past. I’ve realized I don’t like those heavy boots and I will make a daily decision to leave them in the closet, however, if I ever find I have them on, I have my prime minister and little lambs to help me take them off. I’ll bounce to that!